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Do You Feel Discouraged?
by [?]

A young man lost his money in stocks the other day and killed himself. Other young men lose heart when things go against them and drift through life helpless, useless derelicts. Let us give such men a bit of advice:

Don’t let failure discourage you. Almost all the brilliantly successful characters of history have known early trials and reverses. The great philosopher, Epictetus, was a slave. Alfred the Great wandered through the swamps as a fugitive and got cuffed on the ears for letting the cakes burn. Columbus went from court to court like a beggar to try to raise money for the discovery of the New World and when he finally won the favor of the Spanish Queen he was so poor that he could not go to court until Isabella had advanced him money enough to buy decent clothes.

When Frederick the Great was fighting all Europe he fell into such desperate straits that he carried a bottle of poison about with him as the last way of escape from his enemies. If he had taken that dose the whole history of our time would have been different. Instead of shaking a “mailed fist” at the world, young William of Hohenzollern might have been a mediatized princelet on the lookout for an American heiress; there might never have been a Leipzig or a Waterloo, as there certainly would not have been a Sedan, and the heirs of Napoleon might now have been ruling over an empire covering all Central Europe, from the Tiber to the Baltic.

Nobody ever had greater cause for discouragement than George Washington had when he led the straggling remnants of his army across the Delaware in December, 1776. But in the very darkest hour, when absolute ruin seemed inevitable and a British gallows appeared the probable ending of his career, he struck a blow that cleared the way to the highest place in the world’s history.

Andrew Jackson was born in a cabin, suffered every sort of adversity, lost his mother and two brothers from the sufferings of war, was cut with a sword for refusing to clean a British officer’s boots, and grew up almost without education.

Abraham Lincoln, poor, ignorant, sprung from the lowliest stock, deprived of all advantages for culture or for money making, distressed by domestic troubles, might have had some excuse for discouragement. But he kept on, with what results the world sees.

If ever there was a man who seemed doomed to failure it was U. S. Grant in the spring of 1861. He had cut loose from the profession for which he had been trained, and, after drifting from one occupation to another and failing in all, he was now, at thirty-nine years old, a clerk in a country store and unable to make ends meet at that. Three years later he was Lieutenant-General of the armies of the United States, and five years after that he was President.

Solon said it was never safe to call any man happy until he was dead. Unhappiness is equally uncertain. If you are poor now you may be rich to-morrow. If you are unknown now you may be famous to-morrow. If you are even in the penitentiary now you may be running a street-car system to-morrow.

So don’t be discouraged if your fortunes are in temporary eclipse. The savage is in despair when the sun goes into the moon’s shadow, for he thinks that some monster has swallowed it, and that there will never be any daylight again. But to the astronomer an eclipse is merely an interesting opportunity to make scientific observations. Be as sure of the coming of daylight as the astronomer is, and your moments of darkness will trouble you no more than his trouble him.